3 week vacation, what about the tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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3 week vacation, what about the tank?

So, I will be going to a 3 week vacation this summer and I am pondering about the best way to handle the lighting/ferts during that time for my planted 38G.

There won't be any water changes done during that time, I can ask my mother to add some water to the tank, but that's about it with the water. I think I need to get the CO2 bottle for the pressurised system that's just waiting for the bottle, otherwise there won't be much CO2 in the end of the 3 weeks.

So, the tank is 38G, theres two 70W metal halides attached to a timer, there's about 30-50 shrimps in the tank and a moderately large amount of plants. The lights are on for 10 hours a day now. My dosing regime is this:

Day 1: 50-90% WC, Seachem Flourish 5 ml, Seachem Flourish Excel 5 ml, phosphates 0,5 ppm, nitrate 5 ppm, 2 teaspoons of Ca+Mg, 1 teaspoon of K and 2 teaspoons of baking soda
Day 2:
Day 3: 5 ml Flourish
Day 4: 5 ml Excel, phosphate 0,25 ppm, nitrate 2,5 ppm
Day 5: 5 ml Flourish
Day 6: 5 ml Excel, phosphate 0,25 ppm, nitrate 2,5 ppm
Day 7: 5 ml Flourish

I can ask my mother also to add ferts once a week if I put right amounts ready for her to add.

What would you guys do if you were in my shoes? 3 weeks, no WC, hopefully pressurised CO2, metal halides, ferts dosed max. once a week, shrimps fed once or twice a week.

- Satu

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 05:18 PM
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You best bet is measuring everything with simple instructions.

Ie put a day's food in a baggy so the she can judge. Weekly dosing is likely your best bet as well as reducing the photoperiod. Just assume there will be some losses (most likely overgrowth blocking light to lower plants) and plan on a major trim/rescape when you get back.

It might be nice to get CO2 refiled and filters cleaned etc a week or so before so that any faults happen to you. Either have a spare bulb or just ask her to unplug if one goes out.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRam
You best bet is measuring everything with simple instructions
simple but EXACT instructions.....matter of fact , have her over and run through everything in person......dont leave anything to chance.....it really sucks when you get home and find out someone left the front bank of lights off (personal experience)

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 08:15 PM
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I am facing the same "issue" for my tanks. 3 weeks away (far, far away).

I am not concerned about the fishies. They will do just fine without food for this time. Shrimps of course too. Autofeeders and those slow dissolving food discs can do a lot of harm.

I am concerned about temperature. I don't have air condition, and it can get a little warm. I am planning to raise up the canopies for better airflow.

I am concerned about power outages. These will screw with your mechanical timers and result in a shift of lighting periods. I am planning to buy electronic timers with backup batteries.

I autodose all my tanks daily (14 day period before refilling bottles). I will set them to dose only every other day. At the same time, I will reduce lighting (take out some fluorescents, and/or reduce lighting period).

Soooo.

If I were you, I would look into autodosing. Pretty easy with a powerhead, some tubing, and a timer, search for autodosing, I posted some pics and explanations.

Since you can not take out a bulb, you can either hang them higher, and/or reduce the lighting period, say to 6 hours instead of 10. That will slow things down, along with reduced fertilizer dosing.

On the other hand, if you get someone to dose once a week, or if you dose nothing for 3 weeks, it might still come out to the same. Autodosing is still good because you don't have to dose every day which can become a drag.

One worries too much.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Autodosing might be a good idea, I am just really, really bad with that kind of stuff, even with good instructions. 6 hour photoperiod sounds good too.

I didn't remember to worry about the temperature, room temperature will be somewhere between 25-30C (77-86F), but if it climbs much higher than 25, my shrimps will be getting in trouble. I do have open top in the tank and maybe it would help to add an extra internal filter to move the water more and to put a table fan next to the tank.

Should I split the fert dosages in half? Or add the one weeks dosage (10 ppm NO3, 1 ppm PO4, 20 ml Flourish) during the 3 week time? I really have no experience about high light tank with no water changes for this long. In my older setups it was easy just to stop dosing ferts and let the tank be alone for weeks without any plant losses or algae outbreaks.

- Satu

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 05:48 PM
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Rain,
If you can get yourself to the your version of FotoMat (old school Film developer), try to get a bunch of the 35mm plastic film cannisters.
I got a whole bunch for free once just for asking.
You can use these to portion out ferts, and or food.
This way you can label everything on a daily basis.

If you can't get the film cans, try:
some food places have little plastic cups with lids that work,
or even small paper bathrrom cups with plastic wrap.

HTH, have a great vacation.

Walter

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rain-
Should I split the fert dosages in half? Or add the one weeks dosage (10 ppm NO3, 1 ppm PO4, 20 ml Flourish) during the 3 week time? I really have no experience about high light tank with no water changes for this long. In my older setups it was easy just to stop dosing ferts and let the tank be alone for weeks without any plant losses or algae outbreaks.
If you reduce lighting (and I suggest that) then you should along with that reduce fertilizer dosing too. Both to not cause brackish water (since your plants will use less with less light) and to reduce the growth (3 weeks without pruning... you don't want you fishies to get pushed out of the water!)

How exactly you (or someone) dose over that time is probably not too important, just make it less.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 10:00 PM
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If cheap timers get out of whack that isn't a big deal. They will come on again and the plants will get some light. Cheap pumps on the other hand can fail to turn on again after a power outage. Maybe it is just my pumps but I have had failures to turn on when you power them up and it can make a real mess.

Also checking for dead fish is a good idea.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-05-2006, 03:28 PM
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I second Blue Ram's advice: measure out all the food and ferts in advance, and give your tank and filters a thorough cleaning (and your plants a hard pruning) a few days before you go. Then relax and enjoy your vacation! If you are going to places where you'll be reachable, give your mother a copy of your itinerary with the appropriate contact numbers, so she can call you if necessary. She won't need to, but it will help your peace of mind.

(I'm facing the same dilemma this May, but with a low-light, low tech tank.)
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-05-2006, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
I am not concerned about the fishies. They will do just fine without food for this time. Shrimps of course too. Autofeeders and those slow dissolving food discs can do a lot of harm.
Really, fish can go 3 weeks without being fed? Could you please elaborate on this and on the problems with food discs and autofeeders? I'd like to know in case I'm ever so fortuante to be able to take an extended vacation (you lucky dogs!).

Thanks,
Sam


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-05-2006, 07:40 PM
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Sam, in my experience mature fish can go extended periods without additional feeding.

To be more specific, in a densely planted tank that is not overstocked, fish always find something to nibble on. I had a planted tank with White Cloud minnows and I never fed them, but they were doing great and had lots of little ones (but that was like 6 minnows in 40 gal of planted tank).

I think most ppl overfeed their fish. Not so much the frequency, but amount of food and kind of food.

After coming home from 2 weeks vacations fishies are the first thing on my mind... and they always look just as happy as when I left them.

The thing with autofeeders is they work well if you have only one sort of fish, but with the usual mixture, there are always some that dominate the tank and figure out times and location of the feeding and end up really fat and others that "need" the food end up short. Those slowly dissolving disks have the same problem - some fish just keep picking on them and get fat - plus they are detrimental to water quality which is a big problem when you're skipping water changes.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2006, 01:44 AM
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Thanks Wasserpest,
I guess I won't worry too much... I've got a week long trip planned soon, so guess I just have to worry about the Fry then. Perhaps, I'll just transport them in their 5 gal Eclipse to a friend's house in order to minimize the inconvenience. Say hello to the kelp forrest for me... there are a few things I miss about CA.

Does anyone have any advise on vacations and Fry? Sorry I don't mean to hijack this thread.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-06-2006, 01:48 AM
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Quick and maybe silly question -- if you were dosing Greg Watson ferts and going on vacation for a few weeks, is there any reason why putting the measured ferts in film canisters for easy dosing would be a bad idea? For example, could any of the chemicals react with one another in the canisters after several days? And I'm assuming one would do macros and micros in separate canisters on separate days as usual if doing EI, but if one wanted to simplify things for the house-sitter and combine micros and macros for every-other-day dosing, would that be a problem? I'm not planning a vacation -- just curious about the chemistry.
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